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Hone Your Niche--Nonfiction AND Fiction


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#1 Jean Oram

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:15 AM

If you are going to do the nonfiction thing you are going to need a brand. Heck, even if you are doing the fiction thing, you are going to need a brand! (That means, listen up fiction writers who have wandered over here--this applies to you as well!)

First, what is a brand? Think Coca-Cola.

What came to mind? The red and white can? That's branding. How did it make you feel? That's branding too. You likely didn't think about gravel or buying a pair of the "right" jeans when you thought of Coke. Why? Because they have honed their niche. They know what their product is, what their market is, and what image, feelings and all that other jazz that they want their consumer (or even nonconsumer) to think of when they think of their product. This is very carefully structured.

As writers, we need to do this as well.

When you are building your platform, you have to be able to hone right down to who your audience is and what you can and will offer them. For me, my platform is about parenting. But that's a pretty big topic, isn't it? Narrow it down. It's about play. That's still pretty big. Narrow it down again and it's about free play (unstructured play). That's a nice, tight niche.

By knowing my niche, I know that when I am looking to write articles for publications to build my platform I'm going to want to use my niche. That's my angle. If I write about cloth diapering, I'm not in my niche. But if I somehow swing it so I am talking about how cloth diapers enhance free play, I'm in my niche and building my brand. (Not that I think cloth diapers are responsible for free play or have anything to do with it! But you get my point.)

So your job as a nonfiction writer is to get your growing audience to think of one certain thing when they hear your name--because your name (in nonfiction) is your brand. I want people in certain circles to think "free play." Thus, my tweets from my free play account (@kidsplay) should reflect that. So should my webage in its style and content. So should my Facebook page. Everything should help support that brand I am creating. (And notice that I keep my "Jean Oram" writing website and blog, twitter, and Facebook account separate from my It's All Kid's Play? That's so my two brands stay separate and I don't dilute or confuse people who want free play with fiction writing. As well, I don't mesh writing and play in my Pinterest account as tempting as it is. I don't repin or like anything on Pinterest that does not reflect my Kid's Play brand.)

That's what editors want to see. Branding that is clean, precise, and pure.

Can you do it?

Yes, you can. Find your niche and suddenly everything will get a lot easier. Ready? Go!

Questions, suggestions, or other things on your mind? Fire away.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

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If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
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#2 Gwen Ellery

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 02:15 AM

Great post and examples. I love the look of your kids' play sites, Jean!

I'm struggling with this issue of how separate to keep my fiction brand from my non-fiction one. For me, one reason I'm doing my non-fiction brand is in the hope that some of those readers will be interested in my fiction as well, and for that, they'd need to see my name often and associate it with fun girly stuff like makeover tips and women's ficiton. If Coca-cola is the brand, is not our author name the brand too? I'm just musing aloud as I plan a blog and figure out my Pinterest categories.

#3 Jean Oram

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:44 AM

Thanks, Gwen. It's something I've been working on lately. Still have a few things to tweak (but isn't there always)?

Do you feel there will be crossover from non to fiction and vice versa? If so, the closer you can align the two, the better. (If it suits to do so.) You don't want to jar them if they crossover. Yesterday I read that for marketing to women, Facebook and Pinterest are the current top two social sites. I can see that. It's about sharing and conversing, right?

And, yes, I see our author name as our brand. I think that is also a big reason why some authors have several pen names--to help keep their Rum and Coke separate.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

Check it out! I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com):
 

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#4 patskywriter

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 02:45 PM

A friend of mine is known locally for a book he wrote on the white overthrow of the government of Wilmington, North Carolina (the "Wilmington Insurrection of 1898," aka the "Wilmington Massacre of 1898" or "Wilmington Race Riot of 1898"). He followed with a book about the Wilmington 10 (1970s), and his latest is a fictional tale centered around 1890s Wilmington. I guess you could say that he made a 'brand' out of his hometown.
Published community newspapers in Chicago for 8 years; now publishing www.durhamskywriter.com.

Currently working on my first nonfiction book, "And Then We Saw an Eye: Caring for a Loved-One with Alzheimer's at Home."

#5 Jean Oram

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 04:38 PM

Yeah, you could say that! He's obviously made himself an expert in that area--he's the man to go to! That's awesome when folks are able to do that. (And that's why honing your niche is vital--it's hard to do that with a huge topic.)

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

Check it out! I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com):
 

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#6 Gwen Ellery

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:45 AM

Great examples and comparisons.

Maybe that's why I have a constant promotion hangover. I'm mixing my drinks! :-)

For now I'm going to keep things centralized if only for my own sanity. Blogging and tweeting twice just isn't going to happen this summer, and my poor computer's cookies are quite confused about which passwords to use now that I have a pen name as Gwen. But I'll definitely consider separating brands next year.

I think I need two different computers. Yeah, that'd help. One for non-ficiton, one for fiction.

#7 Jean Oram

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:02 PM

That's funny. I've thought the same thing--two computers. :laugh: Once for fiction and one for non.

And yeah, two blogs, two Twitter accounts, etc., gets tiring.

You might find services like TweetDeck and HootSuite (both free) can help separate your twitter brands, if you haven't already. You can be logged in to both through the service and have separate tabs for each account. I like HootSuite, personally, but both are great. You can schedule tweets, see replies, DMs, create lists and saved searches, (pretty much everything) from one spot. Then you don't have to log in and out of Twitter all day long or use separate browsers if you want to stay logged in to both accounts on the Twitter site. Occasionally, I do end up tweeting something from the wrong account, but that is usually from my phone and it's never that big of a deal. (Thankfully.)

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

Check it out! I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com):
 

ChampagneLemonDrops_20K1-e1363631144721.   Whiskey78k-e1383796585580.jpg   Rum-e1397057240802.jpg   loveandrumors579K-e1409935457105.jpg   loveanddreams1dot9MG-e1409935497302.jpg   HotSummerLove-e1409935103103.jpg

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#8 Gwen Ellery

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:08 AM

What a coincidence! I was just on Hootsuite a few minutes ago, trying to add my pen name. Thanks for the tip,Jean. I hadn't realized I could see my FB page posts within Hootsuite. And it's great for pre-schedling since you can see which picture will pop up on FB.

I like Tweetdeck for interactive tweeting. It's so much faster than Hootsuite for me, with the links being automatically shortened and the send happening with the return key. But for scheduling, Hootsuite wins hands down.

#9 mwsinclair

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 05:25 PM

I agree. I use hootsuite for work tweeting, where we have six people tweeting from one account on a designated schedule. I use tweetdeck for my other tweeting. One challenge, however, is that sometimes tweetdeck seems to miss tweets. For example, an RT of a tweet might get passed by without notice, but I still receive the email that one of my tweets was RT'd

#10 Jean Oram

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:19 PM

I haven't found a way to see who RTed my tweets in HootSuite--is there a way? (That would be nice to have.)

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

Check it out! I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com):
 

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#11 Lanette Kauten

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:02 PM

Good post, Jean, and one that's actually been on my mind. I write Women's Fiction, so I want my blog to be geared towards women and women's issues rather than about writing. But that's a huge subject, and I don't know if I can, or even should, narrow it down.

#12 Jean Oram

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:13 PM

Thanks, Lanette. What's your passion? What interests you? What is you? And what can you sustain and link to your books, voice, and themes long term? (ACK!) Answering those question might help you focus it, because you want something you can sustain and will be you and not a burden.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

Check it out! I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com):
 

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#13 Jean Oram

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:18 PM

By the way, I posted on my blog about branding so if you are looking for more thoughts on the subject, you can give it a read. :smile:

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

Check it out! I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com):
 

ChampagneLemonDrops_20K1-e1363631144721.   Whiskey78k-e1383796585580.jpg   Rum-e1397057240802.jpg   loveandrumors579K-e1409935457105.jpg   loveanddreams1dot9MG-e1409935497302.jpg   HotSummerLove-e1409935103103.jpg

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#14 Lanette Kauten

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 08:32 AM

Thanks, Jean. I think I'l focus the blog on relationships because that's at the heart of everything I write and its something all women can relate to.

#15 Jean Oram

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 10:30 AM

No problem. There is always something to say about relationships and even when you are in a healthy one it is interesting to read about.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

Check it out! I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com):
 

ChampagneLemonDrops_20K1-e1363631144721.   Whiskey78k-e1383796585580.jpg   Rum-e1397057240802.jpg   loveandrumors579K-e1409935457105.jpg   loveanddreams1dot9MG-e1409935497302.jpg   HotSummerLove-e1409935103103.jpg

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#16 LynnGoin

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:51 PM

I have just begun writing my nonfiction book, and it seems to me it will be a series of about three books.  I just started looking at agents, publishers, niches, etc.  It seems to be a most important part of the process.  I have a rough draft done of Chapter 1.  My niche to me is a little confusing.  I think it is a biography maybe?   I am telling the story from my point of view, and it is the story of what we went through when my 2 year old son was burned in 2006. 

 

Any ideas on the specific genre for this?



#17 mwsinclair

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:24 PM

My initial impression is that this is memoir. In which case, you'd want to finish the book before querying agents. However, if it's a book about keeping children safe from fires in the home, or baby-proofing/toddler-proofing the home inspired by your personal experiences, then that's something else entirely.






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